It has been a long standing practice of the Transit District not to idle buses at the transit mall except in the case where the outdoor temperature is less than 45 degrees or greater than 78 degrees. This is done for the comfort of our passengers. If you witnessed buses idling it is most likely because the temperature was greater than 78 degrees.[Ummmm, I don't think so -- I've seen idling buses just about all year. But let's make it beyond dispute: how about Cherriots puts a couple big outdoor thermometers up high on the walls at the transit center with red lines at 78 and 45 degrees and paint the background green between those temperature lines with the words "No idling" -- that way everyone can know when the buses aren't supposed to be idling. And why not run a power cord to the bus to support the a/c and heat when the bus is parked -- why run a massive diesel just to run a/c and heating? And do we really need heat when it's 44F? Until we get power cords so that we don't ever need to idle the buses, why not reduce that lower limit to 38F and save a lot of fuel through the year?]
I have forwarded your concerns to the Operations Division so that appropriate follow up with the bus operators will be done just in case.[If only all public officials were as forthcoming and direct in response to inquiries and comments from citizens. I think that drivers might be getting sloppy about idling a little more than Mr. LaFreniere might realize, but you definitely have to appreciate his responsiveness to the concern.]
Our cost for diesel is priced competitively on a daily basis and since we do not pay state or federal taxes on fuel our cost is actually closer to the $2.60 per gallon than the $5 per gallon you mention. Despite this we still take it very seriously here when it comes to fuel costs.
Also, a majority of our buses run compressed natural gas which burns very clean. Our newest buses run clean diesel and meet the stricter 2007 emission requirements as well. If you continue to see buses idling at the transit mall please do not hesitate to contact me and I will follow up with the Operations Division.
Director of Maintenance & Technology
555 Court ST NE
Salem, Oregon 97301